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Confused messages in Pakistan cricket crisis

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David Bond | 13:15 UK time, Thursday, 2 September 2010

Chaos. That is the only way to describe Thursday morning's turn of events in cricket's spot-fixing affair.

Wednesday night, Ijaz Butt, the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board, told the BBC that the three players at the centre of the News of the World betting scam would be free to play in the upcoming Twenty20 and one-day series against England.

Thursday morning, the team's manager Yawar Saeed held an impromptu press conference in Taunton - where Pakistan are playing a warm-up match against Somerset - and completely contradicted him.

With captain Salman Butt and the bowlers Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif in London for talks at the Pakistan High Commission, Mr Saaed said on Thursday: "The T20 squad will remain what it is here this morning, ie 13 people. When we play the one-day internationals we will be asking for replacements to make the squad up to 16."

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A couple of hours later the Pakistan High Commissioner Wajid Hasan took questions on the steps of the High Commission in Knightsbridge to confirm the decision, saying that while the players were innocent they were in a state of mental torture and had voluntarily withdrawn from the team until they have cleared their name.

While that decision was immediately welcomed by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chairman Giles Clarke, it was bemusing to say the least.

But the events of these few hours sum up the difficulties of dealing with Pakistan cricket. One senior official from the International Cricket Council, the sport's world governing body, told me on Wednesday night they will take one position one day - only to perform a complete U-turn hours later.

The most recent example of this is the recall of batsman Mohammad Yousuf half way through the tour of England only a few months after he was banned indefinitely following Pakistan's tour of Australia last winter.

And there was even room for doubt in Mr Saeed's comments on Thursday morning. When asked whether the three players could return to the tour, he replied "if they are innocent they will play on".

Regardless of that, it does now seem that the ICC and the ECB have got the response they wanted from Pakistan.

They were desperate to prevent any further damage to the credibility of this tour by allowing Amir, Asif and Butt to play on as if nothing had happened.

Already there were reports of fans trying to offload their tickets for the series, which starts in Cardiff on Sunday, and the England players were known to feel uncomfortable about playing against them.

So what's gone on behind the scenes?

The ICC and the ECB were adamant on Wednesday night that Ijaz Butt's stance was little more than grandstanding and that Pakistan would eventually have to withdraw the players.

The ECB and the PCB held talks at a central London hotel on Wednesday and it is understood it was made absolutely clear to Pakistan that if they were not pulled out then action would be taken by the ICC.

Mohammad Amir (left), Mohammad Asif (centre) and skipper Salman Butt (right) have been under scrutiny since the allegations broke

The ICC, however, has been attempting to put the brakes on by saying that officers from its Anti-Corruption Unit will not be able to talk to the players until they have been re-interviewed by police. That's due to happen on Friday.

Had Pakistan dug their heels in, the situation was heading for an almighty stand-off. It would have also been a major snub for the ECB chairman Giles Clarke, who has done more than most to throw Pakistan a lifeline by allowing them to play Test matches against Australia in this country because of problems with security at home.

But the far more significant issue is no nearer to being resolved - are members of this Pakistan team - and these three players in particular - part of a betting scam exposed by a Sunday newspaper?

And was this sting evidence of a far deeper corruption inside Pakistan cricket?

Those are the two questions the PCB, the ICC and the police must now focus on.

The Pakistan High Commissioner Mr Hasan suggested the players would go to court to clear their name. Does that mean they are preparing a legal action against the News of the World?

Mr Hasan also said the players were innocent despite the alarming evidence offered by the newspaper - that an agent, Mazhar Majeed, accepted £150,000 in cash in return for making predictions about when no balls would be bowled by Amir and Asif in the Test match at Lord's last week.

Proving the link between Majeed - who is captain Salman Butt's agent - and the behaviour of the players is now the key to this case - and to cricket's future reputation.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Of course the players have to be withdrawn, as the mere allegations serve to undermine the most important part of any spectator sport, namely that the fans believe that what they are seeing is competitive and real. If the allegations are false, I hope the News of the World is sued for all they're worth because it's a serious allegation. On the other hand, if the allegations prove to be true, then I hope all three players are banned from ever playing professional cricket, indeed sport, again. It would be a crying shame (especially as Amir looks incredibly talented) but it's absolutely vital that sporting bodies deals with cheating and corruption as severely as possible, for the benefit of the future sport.

  • Comment number 2.

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  • Comment number 3.

    Another lack of insight, please change your description to:

    "I'm David Bond, the BBC's Sports Editor. This blog will give you an overview of what has happened which you have probably already read regarding football and on occasions cricket."

    I hate to be so negative so often but it's frustrating!

    Also the decision to recall Mohammad Yousuf wasn't a u-turn. He had been given an indefinite ban, not an infinite ban. Totally different. An infinite ban would have been a ban for life where as indefinite is just being banned for a period of time that has not been set. This gave them scope to recall him if they felt it was necessary.

  • Comment number 4.

    I wonder if Amir and Asif are the patsies in all this and simply the pawns of Salman Butt and Mazhar Majeed? Butt might be telling the bowlers to bowl no balls to confuse the batsmen, shake them up a bit etc and Amir and Asif had no idea of the betting scam?

    Amir is a rare talent and to lose him now is a crime.

    But if they are all complicit in the money making scheme then they should all be banned for life.

  • Comment number 5.

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  • Comment number 6.

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  • Comment number 7.

    Re: comment by Radar above - well done you've hit the nail right on the head.

    And, in the article, the answer to "So what's gone on behind the scenes?" is "err, dunno"

    ( Bring back Robbo and Quote of the Week! )

  • Comment number 8.

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  • Comment number 9.

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  • Comment number 10.

    I agree that this blog is pretty dull although most blogs are on the BBC as you are not allowed to have an opinion which is, er, the point of blogs! also take the point that David has either not got the insight or more is likely banned from tablid fishing expeditions which , to be fair, are generally wrong anyway.

    in terms of this story, let us not forget just what distortion the screws are capable of. they claimed to have nailed John Higgins, the snooker player, but there is now some credible stuff which seriously questions the quality of their 'scoop'.

    the simple existence of footage and audio means nothing without all the context and all the footage/audio which the screws never release.

    lets see what the cops do...

  • Comment number 11.

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  • Comment number 12.

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  • Comment number 13.

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  • Comment number 14.

    The 2 bowlers are banged to rights - although it would be interesting to know the mathematical probability of randomly predicting the no-balls, just for a laugh. A big (life?) ban will follow. Unless we all want cricket to become a joke sport. Cycling anyone?

  • Comment number 15.

    Unless they find wads of cash with these players, this is going to be almost impossible to PROVE.

    Yes, it is statistically remote that what the agent said would come true, but would a court and jury take this as EVIDENCE beyond reasonable doubt?

    Barney (#14), a chap on the radio worked the odds out at about 1,000,000 : 1 based on the typical number of no balls in those first few overs. The odds of winning the lottery are 14,000,000 : 1, but people do win it.

    Perhaps the agent is a fortune teller?

    PS... am suprised Kamran Akmal is no longer under investigation, surely he is the biggest 'fraud'...pretending to be test 'keeper!!

  • Comment number 16.

    This outcome was always going to happen.Pakistanies hard done by again.
    They really are stretching the imagination to expect people to believe
    it was all a coincidence.

  • Comment number 17.

    Bruce buck,

    Well put!!

    Shame you cant put a sarcastic tone on text!!

  • Comment number 18.

    I cannot believe we are caught between either believing a tabloid newspaper or the Pakistan Cricket Board. Frankly I can hardly tell the difference.

  • Comment number 19.

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  • Comment number 20.

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  • Comment number 21.

    One thing I find disturbing about this whole process, is that no member of the Pakistani team or authorities have commented upon how bad this looks. The only response we have got is that the players were set up and all that money was being collected was for the flood appeal?

    When you look at the evidence presented, along with the actions of the bowlers in the amount of over stepping the crease for the alleged no balls, you are heading towards DNA profiling as a measure of proof.

    There is a nasty smell here that goes so deep, none of the remaining games have any value. If only just for the sake of cricket, call it all off now. It's as if the home authorities are trying to pretend it did not happen, a mishap that will be sorted out by a committee some where down the line. This will just be an extension of the atmosphere at Lords, with only the Pakistani supporters telling their team how things stand in the outside world.

  • Comment number 22.

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  • Comment number 23.

    Barney (#14), a chap on the radio worked the odds out at about 1,000,000 : 1 based on the typical number of no balls in those first few overs. The odds of winning the lottery are 14,000,000 : 1, but people do win it.

    If you then factor in the opinion of test bowlers who would follow through with their delivery, when you have over stepped the crease by such a degree, you are in a completely new ball park.

  • Comment number 24.

    The Pakistan High Commissioner Mr Hasan has probably received instructions from Islamabad on what to say.

    The team's manager Yawar Saeed has probably received instructions from Bahawalpur.

    The agent Mazhar Majeed possibly received instructions from Faisalabad.

    Meanwhile Pakistan's Cricket Board chairman Ijaz Butt probably gets his instructions from somewhere above the clouds.

    Just let them play, but don't put any money on them.

    (Actually, I have a tenner on them being found innocent of everything).

  • Comment number 25.

    If you ever wanted to see the worst bit of ham acting then the 3 no-balls and Salman Butt's pathetic attempt to put sawdust on the offending areas is it. Not surprised Asif has lost his movie contract after that effort!

  • Comment number 26.

    People are not innocent until proven guilty - Merely regarded as such from a legal standpoint not a moral one. If these bowlers are innocent Stephen Hawking may have the reason - The earth may have drifted past a small black hole that caused time to loop back on itself due to the huge gravitational forces. Thus the balls were bowled before the dodgy agent predicted they would be. Or they could be making a quick buck by bowling no balls to order - Which is more likely?

  • Comment number 27.

    Does the BBC's Sports Editor not read the BBC website?

    There were no contradictions - Ijaz Butt said the three players were free to play, Yawar Saeed said that he had decdided to leave them out. There were, as he said, `no suspensions'.

    It's an obvious compromise between all parties involved to avoid the `chaos' that David Bond reckons is going on, as discussed in more detail on other sites by people much more qualified to do so.

    Frankly I'm getting the impression that this blog is a bit of a waste of my licence fee....and I'm not alone in that etiher

  • Comment number 28.

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  • Comment number 29.

    I find it extremely difficult to comment on this issue: so much is allegation, so much is speculation; some argument is plausible, yet more is clearly specious; and some is even based on hearsay. As David Bond points out the official (or quasi-official) news sems to change by the hour. The latest I have read is that the Pakistani High Commissioner, Wajid Shamsul Hasan is suggesting the players were "set-up."

    One thing, I submit, is uncontroversial - that a large number of fair-minded cricket followers went to Lord's on Sunday, or tuned in to tv, radio or BBC live text, to witness what looked like being the closing formalities of what had been a thumping good Test match. Instead, they found themselves pitched headlong into controversy.

    If our guests have abused the conventions surrounding our hospitality, then shame on them. I live in a town with a high Moroccan population, none of whom know much, if anything, about cricket; many of them are good friends of mine. They tell me the most precious thing a follower of Islam can lose is his honour, so shame on any proven cheats or fixers.

    If our guests are indeed innocent and victims of a huge slur, then the shame falls on us, as hosts. It may be that a section of the British press is more culpable than most, but we all share the responsibility of looking after guests in our country. It is a sine qua non of hospitality.

    The phrase "it's not cricket" had passed into the language long before I was born. It stretched beyond the field of play to encompass everything that smacked of unfairness and cheating. To me, it continues to have that connotation.

  • Comment number 30.

    I would just like to congratulate the Pakistan High Commissioner on coming up with the most ridiculous argument to defend these 3 players. It is just embarrassing and I can't believe that he has the balls to make such a stupid excuse.
    Yes it should be innocent until proven guilty but this logic is innocent no matter what and all of the Pakistan groups involved seem to be in total denial. Whether this is because they are all involved who knows but this outburst really has put a really nasty taste in my mouth. For me, the England cricket summer season is now over. Good Bye Pakistan and roll on the Ashes where people care about Cricket and outcomes are based on effort not bookies.
    And can I get my money back for the charades that I watched at Lords and the Oval please ECB ?

  • Comment number 31.

    Seems like that this scandal is set to take another twist and gradually start drifting in the favor of PCB. You can see the smiling faces of trio and the current remarks by high commissioner that they were set up. My money is certainly on PCB now because they will do their best to wrap up this scandal asap. They might turn up the heat on the News of the World and preparing a lawsuit against them and history shows that News of the World were involved in many controversies in the past years and they were dragged into the court where few times they lost the lawsuit and end up paying a heavy compensation money.
    Things started getting more interesting now..

  • Comment number 32.

    Truth be told, this looks bad for the Pakistanis. But as we all know looks can be deceptive. Question, is there a time & date stamp on that video tape & is it conclusive enough to prove the allegations that have been made? I would also add that it sounds to me that the English press is delighted that this is going on, some objectivity is needed here, the careers of three talented cricketers are on the line!

  • Comment number 33.

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  • Comment number 34.

    Nothing much will come out of this. It’ll be fudged. I am sure the Pak’s PM is in touch with British PM.

  • Comment number 35.

    It is quite obvious that this video has been adulterated. Mr Majeed is wearing a blue shirt inside the car and black outside. If that actually happened, it will be the most confident instance of money laundering I have known.

    On such evidence I wonder why the players should be suspended from the squad. IF they are confident they are innocent then they should remain with the squad.

  • Comment number 36.

    All very sad and, again, Pakistan don't seem to be helping themselves in terms or pr.

    But everyone is innocent until proven guilty and we must all give them the benefit of the doubt.

    I am just trying to think what the doubts might be.

  • Comment number 37.

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  • Comment number 38.

    I would quite like to know how my comment at #22 broke house rules? There was nothing controversial or offensive about it - I was just stating my opinion. It seems that is all too much for the BBC. Pathetic!

  • Comment number 39.

    Dan @19 ,

    Would this be the same so-called newspaper that came up with this little gem earlier in the year?


    Whether the allegations are proven or not, it's hard not to feel that both the PCB and the players themselves have handled their response to this story in a less than ideal fashion. The players could surely have voluntarily withdrawn from the remainder of the series while they made efforts to clear their names, with the public (and conditional) support of the PCB. The rest of the squad would then have been freed from the distractions of the controversy and allowed to focus on restoring a degree of pride and credibility to Pakistani cricket after their capitulation in the recent Test series and the fallout from these allegations. The longer people like David are given a story to work with, the longer the scandal will drag on. It's feeding time, boys and girls, and the wolves are hungry.

    Amid all the posturing, even the ICC and the ECB seem to have forgotten that at the very centre of this story are three relatively young men. Amir in particular seems like an enormous talent, but at just 18, what effect will all of this have on him if these allegations turn out to be unfounded? I'm all for life bans to keep cheats away from the game, but the ICC should not put themselves in a position where their impartiality is prejudiced by the appearance of prejudging guilt without allowing for due process; the ECB should simply be keeping themselves as far away from any ill rumour as possible by releasing a statement informing of their support for the police and ICC inquiries and making it clear that there will be no further comment while enquiries are ongoing.

    As damning as these allegations may appear, performing a character assasination on the players while the police investigation is ongoing makes us no better than the proverbial playground bully. If mob rule was an effective means of justice, we would have no need for either a formal legal system or a sporting code of practice. Personally, I find it reassuring we have both.

  • Comment number 40.

    Another stunning and insightful blog from Mr Bond...

    Does he know anything about sport or the politics of sport?

  • Comment number 41.

    the evidence is not as concrete as it sounds it is very possible they were set up if i were working for a newspaper i would do evrything to cover it up if it turns out they did set up the players then quite rightly they should be punnished if it is true then the icc would have no choice a fine or ban

  • Comment number 42.

    Obviously the moderators don't understand sarcasm...

  • Comment number 43.

    It seems I'm not allowed to voice an opinion or compare the embarrassed reaction of the Pakistani players on Sunday with those after the 'Hair incident'.

    Given the outsourced BBC moderation operation it doesn't surprise me though.

  • Comment number 44.

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  • Comment number 45.

    I would also add that it sounds to me that the English press is delighted that this is going on, some objectivity is needed here, the careers of three talented cricketers are on the line!


    and you think the media care about that????

  • Comment number 46.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 47.

    For God's sake! It's just a game! Children play games and men work!!! It offends me every time I hear that 'men' are 'playing' cricket or football or rugby etc. The sums of money that have become involved in 'sport' are obscene and disgusting, and should be the subject of serious government scrutiny!

  • Comment number 48.

    Re:Steve Treacle (38)

    I is quite pathetic ( and worrying) how the BBC moderate the blogs and especially this one from Mr Bond.They claim a post is being moderated then delay doing anything until the shelf life of the blog has passed...and nobody is reading it.

    As a suggestion,use seems to work.

  • Comment number 49.

    the only thing the news of the world care about is money anyone who belives this is only puting money into there pockets dont buy anything they have printed or filmed they are wasting everyone's time and triying to play everyone well i have some advice to the head editor of said paper go climb a tree

  • Comment number 50.

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  • Comment number 51.

    i tried being blunt in one post

    and sarcastic in the other

    both of them got deleted!

  • Comment number 52.

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  • Comment number 53.

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  • Comment number 54.

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  • Comment number 55.

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  • Comment number 56.

    I cannot comment on the inner workings of the cricket governing bodies but what does spring to mind is the difficult situation Giles Clarke must be facing as he appears to be a supporter of Pakistan cricket by allowing them to have "home tours" outside of Pakistan.
    For this he surely should be applauded.
    The issue of " due process " worries me with the hounds baying for the removal of the 3 Pakistani players before all the facts are know.
    The involvement of the News of the World is, for me at least, the most worrying aspect of this whole affair. The recent phone tapping of the royals and celebrities does little to convince me of their journalistic integrity.
    Just a few observations from an American who loves cricket, so what the heck can I possibly know??


  • Comment number 57.

    Just a reminder to everyone re BBC moderation policy:

    Argue that Pakistan are innocent, that the NOTW 'faked' the video and that the reactions of the Pakistani players on Sunday were those of innocent men - your comment will be published.

    Express the opposite opinion, prepare to be moderated.

    Not sure how this comprises a 'debate', but not surprising really.

  • Comment number 58.

    What was a betting scam is turning into a cricket scam because of the actions of the ICC and ECB. I have tickets for the ODI at the Oval but now have no appetite for going to watch a meaningless game against a less than half strength Pakistan team. Because of money the ECB will give me no refund if I request it. Let’s see the reaction to their distain of the sporting public when next year’s £90 ticket goes on sale in the autumn.

  • Comment number 59.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 60.

    Can I ask if the BBC moderator just happened to have been born in Lahore?

  • Comment number 61.

    My comment did not break the house rules. They offended your sensibilities - there's a big difference.

  • Comment number 62.

    after his comments the credibility of wajid hasan as the Pakistan high commissioner is laughable talk about ignore all the evidence and then engage mouth not brain.what a plonker

  • Comment number 63.

    The chances of winning the lottery are 14 million to one .... but people still win it

    This may be true, but what has not yet happened is someone winning the lottery after someone else has previously placed a large bet that they would

    If people are going to quote statistical probability they should at least take the time to make sure they understand it first. Winning the lottery is random chance. This triple no-ball event was PREDICTED random chance

    Whatever we may think about the News of the World is anyone suggesting that they would be so incredibly stupid so as to go public with such open public and damaging accusations and specifically INVITE police intervention unless they didn't have it nailed down? If these accusations turn out to be false then the players concerned will earn more out of the litigation than the amounts rumoured to have been paid out in inducements

  • Comment number 64.

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  • Comment number 65.

    I think that this story is taking a very dangerous turn because of the already fragile relationship between Pakistan and the West.

    We need to consider first how we would expect the British High Commissioner in Pakistan to react if Strauss, Anderson and Broad were accused on a similar fix by Pakistani media while on tour there. Of course we would expect our diplomats to protect our countrymen if they claimed to have been set up, wouldn't we? They might go as far as to question the motives and authenticity of the claims against them (especially as no charges have been brought) if that is the defense that the players have made to him. He is not the judge, he is there to protect Pakistani citizens in the UK.

    Clearly though, he has raised the stakes in his defense. Personally, I feel that the NOTW *must* now prove the authenticity of the video in an unambigious way. Suggesting that this is below them is a highly dangerous move that will fuel conspiracy theories. They have implicated up to 7 players, not just the three at the High Commission today, remember. The NOTW has to back it's accusations up or issue a grovelling apology.

    You might think that the management of the Pakistani cricket team would be concerned with players taking money to under-perform? It could lose them the match which is hopefully the exact opposite of what they want the players to be doing. They too have aligned themselves as supporters of the players which might be right, or might be turning a molehill into a mountain.

    The danger I see is that there may not be an independent judgement on the guilt or innocence that both sets of supporters accept.

    What can the British Police do? Is there a crime in this country for them to solve? Or, did the crime not happen because the info was not used to place a fraudelent bet in the UK? Is bowling a no ball for money a crime? Probably not...

    It seems that the ICC really has to step up and deliver a clear and conclusive public judgement. This has to convince Pakistan of its citizens' guilt or the UK that the NOTW has faked everything. Anything else and its another step towards world war 3.

  • Comment number 66.

    Yes, very people would argue in favour of the journalistic integrity of the News of the World, but it still doesn't change the betrayal of the cricketing public and their own countries by these cricketers. Am I missing the point or being too old fashioned to say that playing for your country at any level and in any sport should still be an honour. I would think twice before paying to see Pakistan again! Have got mates whose roots are Pakistani and both are not surprised and as they say it is common practise in the sub-continent, not just in Pakistan.

  • Comment number 67.

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  • Comment number 68.

    My personal opinion is the PCB need to start treading a lot more carefully as the entire cricketing future of Pakistan is at stake. Implying a set-up with little evidence to support this only serves to escalate the situation.

    On a side not - Radar - bang on. Bond wrote negative and uninspiring dross throughout the World Cup and now this - a rehashed sequence of previously known events that add nothing to the story.

  • Comment number 69.

    should they be playing any match at a time when millions of people in Pakistan going through severe crises
    what a shameless bunch

  • Comment number 70.

    The UK charges against the players will obviously be dropped, as under British law there would only be an offence if a bet was placed in the UK, which there wasn't in this case. The money laundering charges are separate but apparently don't involve the players.

    But when the charges are dropped against the players will this cause Pakistan to claim that no fixing happened, or will the ICC still investigate what happened as a violation of ICC regulations? Time will tell, but I think we all know what will happen. And the end result will be that supporters in England will have one opinion and those in Pakistan will view it as a 'conspiracy' by the NOTW. And so the divide between the nations will grow.

  • Comment number 71.

    one question i would really like some 1 to address:

    how are the pakistan players payed in comparison to other cricket teams?

    cause everybody is going to shout now about life bans and what not but shouldnt the solution lie somewhere in ensuring that the players are properly paid? that should surely remove some of the temptation..then if these things continue then any player caught should definitely be culled for life..agreed that the PCB probably broke but cant the ICC help out there? give soft loans or something..

  • Comment number 72.

    In my view Jonathan Agnew's commentary nailed it for me. Mohammad Amir, 3rd over, coming in to bowl. No ball, he's a foot over, a bowler wouldn't allow the ball to leave his hand, half an inch, maybe. I think I'm reproducing here quite a bit of what Aggers said on TMS which is a matter of public record. Completely unwittingly, he nailed it, well before the allegations were published and not knowing anything about them. He's absolutely right - why would an international level bowler, full knowing that he's well over the popping crease, let the ball leave his hand?

    Answer that, Pakistan.

  • Comment number 73.

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  • Comment number 74.

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  • Comment number 75.

    I still reckon that you are all missing the point....the pictures on SKY TV proved absolutely conclusively that Amir, who had hardly bowled a no-ball in the previous 3 tests or indeed his whole career was over-stepping the line by a foot or couldn't possibly make that up. whatever else comes out of the inquiries I can assure you all that this was a complete set-up and any PCB suggestion to the contrary is an abject betrayal of morals and ethics to the cricketing and sporting world. I agree with previous posters that they, Pakistan, should be illegible to play on an international basis for a long period of time...not just the 3 pinpointed individuals.

  • Comment number 76.

    seriously the media have taken this too far whatever happened to innocent till proven guilty if these were english cricket players the media wouldnt be as critical

  • Comment number 77.

    sorry Girlondonb....if only time didn't interrupt....

  • Comment number 78. couldn't be that innocent surely?

  • Comment number 79.

    What I will be interested to see is how long it takes the PCB and/or their government to play the race card and claim they have been victimised just because of their faith or what continent they are from, rather than the wrongdoing (for the umpteenth time) of their players.

    In light of their forfeiture of the 2006 Oval Test it did not take them long to start making suggestions that Daryl Hair had an issue with Asian teams and last year, in light of terrible terrorist attacks on the Sri Lankan team in Pakistan, Ijaz Butt seemed more concerned with having an extraordinary pop at match referee, Chris Broad, along the lines of of the Hair criticism, but this time to a man who had almomst just been killed by terrorists from their country, rather than talking about the disgrace and tragedy that had just occurred. I would say that we'll hear the race card before the weekend is out!

  • Comment number 80.

    Bruce Buck Is A Legend: I'm not trying to start a 'race issue', I was merely criticising the moderation policy as my first post was entirely legitimate and was censored. And your point that you were critical of Pakistan and then your posts were deleted... ummmmm, doesn't that prove my point?

    I first thought you were being facetious until you brought up a 'race issue'. Not sure what you're on about.

  • Comment number 81.

    I didn't follow this whole story in detail but having seen the video footage of the bookie Majeed, I don't understand when jackwhite III say "A video, which there seems to be no doubt was made before the play in question took place". Why this video can't be fabricated after the actual happenings? Can someone help me understand it. Thanks

  • Comment number 82.

    Former Test cricketer and selector Iqbal Qasim says allegations of spot-betting and match-fixing will continue to haunt Pakistani cricket until "strict, definitive measures are in place to check indisciplined players".

    He says the Pakistan Cricket Board should take much of the responsibility for the controversies surrounding the team.

    "The board is mismanaged. How can you expect it to control the players when it is in a mess itself?" asks Qasim, who stepped down as chief selector following the disastrous Australia tour.

    He says the probe into the performance of the team in Australia was "an eyewash", a charge board officials have denied.

    Do we need to say more?

  • Comment number 83.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 84.

    81. At 9:51pm on 02 Sep 2010, no_more_a_cricket_lover wrote:
    I didn't follow this whole story in detail but having seen the video footage of the bookie Majeed, I don't understand when jackwhite III say "A video, which there seems to be no doubt was made before the play in question took place". Why this video can't be fabricated after the actual happenings? Can someone help me understand it. Thanks


    because i dont think the NOTW would ring the police and scotland yard themselves and provide them with a video made AFTERWARDS knowing full well that if the police find out its made AFTERWARDS, the newspaper will have to pay out millions in damages for dragging these players and the pakistan team through the mud

    plus i think thats one of the first things scotland yard would check.

    when the video was made.
    check the hotel
    when they checked in
    who checked in at what date.
    who checked out at what date.

    these kind of things.

    i think these would be the first line of investigation made by scotland yard but in any case i highly doubt the video was made afterwards otherwise it would be a pretty dumb move by a filthy and pathetic newspaper. The NOTW.

  • Comment number 85.

    I'm a little tired of the holier than thou attitude about this affair.
    I don't know if the players have a case to answer, but many people seem to have made up their mind, and are baying for a life ban etc. This is a simplistic reaction. There has always been betting in cricket - when Jonners was around he would report the odds that Godfrey Evans used to communicate to him. What is serious is when people can nobble the players. The question to ask is under what conditions players are vulnerable.

    Western cricketers come from societies where there is very little corruption and play for national boards that are well structured and offer good remuneration and support. Shane Warne recently talked of being approached by some shady character during the Ashes last year. He went and talked to the coach and that was the end of it - obviously dealing with this kind of incident is part of the team training and induction of new players.

    This is clearly not the case with Pakistan. The country itself is in a mess, both through the recent floods and fundamentalist insurgency. Corruption is rife. There is a president who finds it more important to come to England to be present for the debuts of his son's political carreer rather than oversee how his government is handling the floods. The senior officials in the Pakistan cricket setup are political appointments rather than sporting ones. The players do not have great conditions of employment.

    In this context, it is entirely possible to set up a player either by leading him to believe that everyone knows about it so it's OK, or by a series of threats elicit his compliance.

    It seems to me therefore, that rather than hitting the players, which is too easy, there should be something done to make Pakistan cricket sort itself out - insist for example that it becomes an independant, self-governing body with its board being selected for sporting reasons rather than political ones and that it offers conditions and support similar to our own ECB.

  • Comment number 86.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 87.

    Anybody remember the wooler incident, i think he was killed as he was about to reveal match fixingby the players.

  • Comment number 88.

    Having visited Pakistan on a number of occasions, this is no real surprise. Corruption is endemic and always has been. We only need to look at the current Pakistani leader who has been linked with fraud, corruption, murder and has been convicted in court for all of the above and served prison time. In a normal democracy a person with this record would be precluded from public service, alas in Pakistan the new incoming governments simply expunge any reference to earlier convictions and start all over again. I am almost 100% certain that members of the PCB are probably involved as are management. Let's also not forget that the highest ranking member in Pakistani cricket is a political appointment, which brings us nicely back to corruption...with politicians being at the apex.

    If only the people of Pakistan could have the good sense to pick an honest leader and since the pool of honest politicians is limited in Pakistan, my vote goes to Imran Khan!

    Pakistan cricket needs a root and branch change, unfortunately, under the current system this can never be.

  • Comment number 89.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 90.

    We've been witnessing erratic and inexplicable cricket performances from Pakistan for years. This 'fixing' cancer must be eradicated completely.Knaves and felons always go scurrying behind legal jargon and measured phraseology as a first resort,then build their case with complicit lawyers whose job it is to help them circumvent justice.This matter will be no different.In fact,the charade has been given a kick along by Wajid Hasan and his idiotic comments.Any commissioner whether he be Pakistani or British who claims innocence automatically for his countryman has zero credibility and has made himself a liar.

  • Comment number 91.

    David Bond - master of saying nothing in 500 words

  • Comment number 92.

    everyone is saying that the pakistani players are involved in match fixing.. but has anyone thought what if its just a way to give bad name to the pakistan player especially amir who could be a future star... the pakistan commisoner has said that the video could have been made after the no-balls occured too. if they knew about the match-fixing then why didnt they inform the police before rather than waiting the day later. anyone can make a video about an event which happened before and say that it was done before.

  • Comment number 93.

    Oh come on BBC, this moderation thing is getting out of hand, I said nothing offensive or illegal. Just who do you think you are protecting in being so one sided and defensive of Pakisatn cricket? This is just sillyness.

  • Comment number 94.

    I give 'Truth Hurts' (88) about 10 minutes before his accurate and thoughtful comment is taken down.

  • Comment number 95.

    Clear as mud.

    Predictably, politics wider than cricket has become involved.

    One particular high ranking judge and jury has pronounced that Butt, Asif and Amir are innocent and that it’s all a set up by the tabloid media with questionable videos etc.

    This judge and jury has, it appears, been bestowed with great clarity of thought and judgement.

    What is the purpose of such clear pronouncements? Incongruously, it is to muddy the waters. Muddy the waters, toss in a few red herrings and the investigations will appear to be nothing more than a fishing expedition.

    Assume the high moral ground of defending the weak and innocent against the all consuming power of the tabloid media. After all, didn’t similar high ranking judges and juries save the game from the evils of the likes of Darryl Dastardly.

    Unless the police investigation is much more extensive than has been reported in the media, then I think that few, if any, charges will be laid. How can this particular allegation of conspiracy to defraud a bookmaker be sustained in a British court? The bookmakers, referred to, are illegal, clandestine organizations operating from somewhere on the subcontinent; they are hardly likely to come forward. British bookmakers do not appear to have been targets.

    If the criminal charges don’t proceed, then the ICC will buckle. The high moral ground will be taken by those that cry “Innocent until proved guilty”. Noble that such a claim might be, I can’t help feeling that the maxim ”innocent until proved guilty” has been hijacked recently by those for whom the only crime that matters appears to be the crime of being caught out (no pun intended).

  • Comment number 96.

    It just shows how trust worthy these sports people are, its all money/money today. Its pathetic and players found cheating should be dealt with as harshly as possble. I enjoy watching most sports but they all cheat, motor racing/football/rugby/cricket/athletics/swimming, you name it and there are cheats involved.

  • Comment number 97.

    The Pakistan High Commissioner Mr Hasan has stated that the players are innocent and he is willing to take the matter to court to clear the player's names. To me there is too much compelling evidence to lable it as a set up by NOTW. This seems like a set up from Salman Butt and Mazhar Majeed , I think Mohammed Asif and Mohammed Amir were delibrately told to ball no balls by Salman Butt and portray it to them as a "tactic". If you have a look at Amir's no ball it was stepped a whole foot over the crease, if you also study the type of ball it was a short "shake up" delivery, surely this lad is innocent. He's 18 and you cant judge a book by its cover but he cant stop smiling this lad. Ultra-talented and caught up in this scam. He has no reason to, he has the world ahead of him. What i fear is Amir and Asif not having the guts to come out and say they were told by their captain to delibrately ball no balls as a tactic, in cricket that is not illegal from Amir and Asif's point of view but if that was Salman Butt's intention then it is an absolute disgrace and he should be banned and fined more than he has ever earnt. Thats my opinion.

  • Comment number 98.

    I still admire the way Pakistan play cricket. They are naturally talented and still fresh in spirit. They have always been good to watch and they are followed fervently.
    What we are seeing here is ultimately a spin off of 9/11. Pakistan has been forced to play test matches any time and anywhere except home soil. They are comparative to any other professional cricketers underpaid and consequently undervalued. They are prey to a number of forces and some of the players may have succumbed. That is the tragedy. It is the easiest thing in the world to bowl a deliberate no ball and get away with it. Sadly it could be that Amir was too eager to please his captain if Butt had ordered him to bowl a no -ball. A more experienced player would have got away with it.
    The fact that no balls were bowled were irrelevant. It is more disturbing if catches were deliberately dropped. That does bring disrepute. The outcome will be a lengthy ban for all players involved if found guilty. That applies to the ICC charges which are a wet sponge compared to what charges could be brought by the police investigation.
    What is really ironic about all of this is that England are not all that good at the moment. They are vulnerable to good seam bowling and the turning ball.

  • Comment number 99.

    At 09:32am on 03 Sep 2010, SimonGA wrote:
    It is more disturbing if catches were deliberately dropped. That does bring disrepute.
    Erm.... have you not been watching the Test series?

  • Comment number 100.

    A few thoughts. Firstly, what will the ICC charges actually add to this case? I can't help think that maybe they should have suspended the players due to an ongoing police nvestigation and then let that run its course.

    Secondly, I'm no fan of the News of the World but I can't believe that they would be interested in setting up three Paksitani cricketers in this way. There would be far too much to lose.

    Finally, you can't help but wonder about the roles of the various parties in this. Were the bowlers just carrying out instructions from the captain, oblivious to the betting? Have the players in question been seriously affected by the terrible floods back home, and offered the chance to make quick money for a non-match altering action decided to go for it? That wouldn't justify the actions of course but equally if you were offered a load of money for bowling a no ball and knew what a difference it could make to people, quite possibly friends and family, I'm sure it would cross your mind at least.


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